Semi-Weighted & Weighted keys

Posted by: Setsukyie

Semi-Weighted & Weighted keys - 10/20/09 10:34 AM

I've read a lot of things about 'Unweighted & Weighted Keys', but none about the semi-weighted ones.

I previously owned a Yamaha PSR E213 which has unweighted keys and no touch sensitivity. It was fun since I didn't know a thing about weighted keys or even touch sensitivity back then, lol.

I was stuck with that keyboard for about 18 months, then I switched to a Yamaha DGX-530 3 months ago. This one has semi-weighted keys and awesome touch response. I had troubles switching from my old keyboard to this one because the keys on this one are harder to press. Also because of the touch response and the pedal. But I got used to it after a few weeks or so.

So..I have a few questions:
a) Is there a big difference between semi-weighted keys and weighted keys (real piano)? I know that unweighted and weighted keys make a big difference, but what about semi-weighted keys?

b) Is switching from semi-weighted keys to weighted keys the same as switching from unweighted keys to semi-weighted keys? Is it harder or does take more time to get used to it?

c) Lastly, if I spend like 5 years playing on a semi-weighted keys keyboard, will I have troubles playing a real piano in the future? Should I get a real piano as soon as possible (not that I can) so that I won't have to learn how to play from scratch in the future?

Oh yea, I never played a real piano before, so I don't know how a real piano feels like, lol

Hope you guys can answer my questions, thanks in advance ^_^
Posted by: Ken Knapp

Re: Semi-Weighted & Weighted keys - 10/20/09 10:42 AM

I can't answer what effect playing semi-weighted keys will have on your future playing, but can answer about the difference between weighted and semi-weighted. The difference is huge! Depending on the brand of keyboard there will even be a big difference between weighted keys and an acoustic.

I've played most of them. Non weighted = springs. Semi weighted = stronger springs (IMHO). Weighted = anything from weights in the keys to actual simulated actions (best ones).

My advice (opinion?) would be to learn on the best of the fully weighted or on an acoustic.

Ken
Posted by: pianojazz

Re: Semi-Weighted & Weighted keys - 10/20/09 12:45 PM

To truly mature as a pianist, you will at some point, need to spend lots of time practicing on a grand piano. There is no viable alternative to this requirement - that's the bad news: The good news is that you can come pretty close to the real thing with today's technology. In my case, I'm fortunate enough to have a grand as my main piano - but for gigs I use a semi-weighted digital because it has a good piano sound (if it's run through a good PA), it weighs about 30lbs, it's always in tune and plays and sounds better than most of the "house pianos" I've ever encountered. Usually the "fully weighted" digitals come in at around 60lbs - they feel nice, they're not the same as a real grand but they are closer than the semi-weithted, but they're too heavy to gig with and they're not that much nicer than the semi weighted boards to justify the extra 30-plus pounds by the time you include the case and start moving it around. So....
1. Get a grand piano. If you can't do that, 2. Get a fully-weighted digital if you don't have to move it around much. Or, if you plan to move it a lot, 3. Get the semi-weighted.
Posted by: Marty Flinn

Re: Semi-Weighted & Weighted keys - 10/20/09 02:25 PM

Cheap and small keyboards typically have no weight to the key touch (as in an organ) and no velocity sensitivity (play the key easy and get a soft sound, play the key hard and get a loud sound).

Intermediate keyboards and entry digital pianos often have key resistance added by attaching springs to the backs (semi weighted). This is not recommended for serious piano students.

Most mid line and up digital pianos feature some type of actual weighting within the key mechanism to duplicate the weighted feel and feeling of motion (hammer toward the string) in an acoustic piano. Contrary to most sales presentations, it really doesn't matter how they do it. What matters is how authentic to the feel of an acoustic piano the digital piano action is.
Posted by: apple*

Re: Semi-Weighted & Weighted keys - 10/20/09 02:39 PM

(what is odd is how easy it is to misplay notes on the action of an organ.. it requires a totally different technique usually)
Posted by: Setsukyie

Re: Semi-Weighted & Weighted keys - 10/21/09 01:53 AM

Unfortunately, I can't afford a new piano for now..>_<
So, I'm stuck with my semi-weighted keyboard for the time being (at least 2 more years)

Switching from unweighted to semi-weighted was no problem with me, so I thought it'll be the same with a fully weighted one.
All I have to do is press the keys harder, right? (guess not..)
Posted by: pianojazz

Re: Semi-Weighted & Weighted keys - 10/21/09 12:06 PM

You don't "press" a piano key - unfortunately, a lot of self-taught beginners and digital-only piano players are under this tremendous misconception and never understand why. To "properly" play a note on a piano, one transfers the weight from the key being played to the key you want to play. Moreover, there are three distinct phases to playing a note on a piano: impulse, balance and release. If you don't understand what this means and, more importantly, how this feels when you do it correctly, you need to find a good teacher.